Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: If you are employed with a private sector company in the UAE, a new labour law will soon come into effect, governing various aspects of the work relationship in the country’s private sector.

Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations will replace the earlier Labour Law – Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 – and will be applicable from February 2, 2022.

Articles 17 and 18 of the new law stipulate how working hours are calculated and what is the maximum amount of time a worker can work – at a stretch – before he or she is entitled to a break. The regulation also cover workers working remotely as well as how commute time is calculated for office-goers.

It is important to note that there may be some occupations that may be covered as exceptional cases, based on executive regulations that may be passed by the relevant authorities at a later date.

However, these are the regulations that cover the duration of work for most private sector employees in the UAE.

Article (17) - Working Hours

1. The maximum ordinary working hours shall be eight working hours a day or 48 working hours a week.

2. The Cabinet may, upon proposal of the Minister and in coordination with the concerned entities, increase or decrease the daily working hours for certain economic sectors or certain categories of workers, in addition to the working times, breaks and hours when work is prohibited for certain categories of workers, according to the manpower classification set by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law.

3. The periods spent by the worker from the place of residence to the workplace shall not be calculated within the working hours, except for certain categories of workers according to the controls set by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law.

4. The Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law shall determine the working hours of Ramadan.

5. If the worker is not a full-time worker, the original employer, or any other employer employing the worker under the provisions of this Decree-Law may not require the worker to work for him more than the hours agreed upon in the employment contract, unless with his written consent.

6. If the worker wants to perform work remotely, whether inside or outside the UAE, and with the consent of the employer, the employer may stipulate specific working hours.

Article (18) - Consecutive Working Hours

The Worker may not work over five consecutive hours without one or more breaks which shall amount in aggregate to not less than one hour, provided that such break(s) shall not be calculated as part of the working hours. Working hours and breaks in the establishment shall be regulated by shifts, or for certain categories depending on their nature such as on-site positions - and as per the manpower classification specified the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law.